A Fountain for People’s Park

Today, People’s Park in Berkeley is simply not the oasis that its creators hoped it would be. Instead, it is an example of urban blight, not usually inviting to most of the community, and home to druggies and rats. Where is the beauty in that?

Imagining how a monument might be made to the creation of the park and the intentions behind it, I began to see a fountain, like one of those urban fountains that grace the city squares and parks of Paris and Rome.

In the centre, facing right, a young man wearing a himation (with no chiton) is falling to his knees, his right hand clutching his heart and his left holding a scroll. He is supported by a young man wearing a chlamys. A dryad in the style of La liberté guidant le peuple stands to the left and, holding a torch instead of a flag (cf. Statue of Liberty), beckons those coming from that side to join the fight for liberty. At their feet are lotuses and lamenting cupids, and they all stand on a rocky outcrop inscribed NO MAN IS AN ISLAND.

On the right, Roman soldiers hold fasces, and one of them has a bayoneted gun aimed at the young man in the centre.

To the left, young men and women hold hoes and saplings they intend to plant, brandishing them at the soldiers.

A new Free Speech Stage, like the one now used for speaking and music, could be built around this fountain.

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